GIEC Marks 10 Years of Incubating Businesses

The Garrett Information Enterprise Center (GIEC) at Garrett College, which serves as a business incubator, recently marked its 10th anniversary of supporting the economic growth of Garrett County by creating an environment for facilitating the successful development of technology businesses. Funded by grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Economic Development Administration, the State of Maryland and Garrett County, the GIEC opened its doors in June 2002.

A business incubator is an organization that provides offices in a cost effective high-tech professional environment for entrepreneurial/start-up companies. These companies are offered specialized support resources and services.

Julie Yoder, Garrett College Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, has been involved in the work of the GIEC since its inception, originally as a member of the GIEC Advisory Board, and for the last three years as the supervisor of the GIEC Coordinator. “The purpose of the GEIC as an incubator is to nurture the development of technology-based start-up businesses in order to increase chances of survival during the early, risky years,” she explained.

Yoder noted that the support provided encompasses modern, technologically advanced office space, high-speed internet access, shared office services, and access to the GC campus library that interfaces electronically with libraries worldwide as well as college computer labs and classrooms.

One of the benefits to the businesses that have taken advantage of the GIEC is Garrett County’s HUBZone designation. Created by the federal government in 1997, the HUBZone program focuses on stimulating economic development by creating jobs and giving contracting preference to small businesses located in “historically underutilized business zones.”

“Among the benefits to businesses in the GIEC facility is the entrepreneurial education to which they will have access to, networking opportunities, and a variety of funding opportunities at the local and state levels,” Yoder said.

As the Garrett Information Enterprise Center enters its second decade new programs are being incorporated for business entrepreneurs. Mike Tumbarello, recently named the GIEC Coordinator, is preparing to launch these services.

More information on the GIEC is available at www.giecworks.com, and by calling Tumbarello at 301-387-3167.